A few years ago I started a list of songs that were , in my opinion , #LikeNoOther , on my Seven Days In blog. These are eight songs for that list , and there will be a lot more in future. This is the second batch from those songs. Some will be familiar but they are really different from all other music that you know of although they may have been copied since then.
Rather than include all the songs I have included them on a YouTube playlist here
So here they are:
This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us - Sparks
first saw Sparks performing on The Old Grey Whistle Test performing "No More Mister Nice Guy" from A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing which was OK , the most striking thing was Ron Mael's Chaplinesque looks and I liked the album title. More androgynous American rock but nothing special.
Then they signed to Island and gave us Kimono My House , more plays on words and phrases , but the lead single "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" was totally amazing.
From the opening piano motif you are hit with Russel Mael's falsetto , the a stop with a heavy stop start four note single heavy guitar riff before launching in a steamrollering you in almost Wagnerian style a song that still stands today as one of the most amazing three minutes you will ever hear.
Every time I listen to it, I don't want it to stop, there's always a change round the corner, and while it may be generally in 4/4 time it's hardly easy to dance to like your normal pop song should be, but it never loses your attention.
You can see it's influence in things like Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and since then Sparks have continued to expand their musical envelope , collaborating with Giorgio Moroder on No 1 In Heaven and are still producing amazing music. Li'l Beethoven is a wonderful album.
This Town was when I thought Sparks were special and was revisited on their collaboration album Plagiarism as a duet with Faith No More, Mike Patton providing an amazing foil for Russel Mael.
They collaborated with Franz Ferdinand as FFS , a major success but you feel the Mael's were in the driving seat, but Franz Ferdinand's angular rock proved a brilliant vehicle for more Mael exploration and play.
So that's my thoughts on this great song.
Underground - Tom Waits
I first got into Tom Waits when I heard his beautiful song “In The Neighbourhood” . I was late to the show, so bought “Swordfishtrombones”. Maybe the title should have warned me, but I was not prepared for the primitive attack of the opener “Underground” , but the whole album grew on me but I could see it being used to see off unwanted party guests at the end of the evening.
Down By The Water - PJ Harvey
Polly Jean Harvey is a favourite of mine and was a confidante of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) , this song being almost a sawing skewed nursery rhyme , but is one of my absolute favourites.
Frankie Sinatra - Avalanches
Yesterday I was listening to 6Music and some guy was talking about band who exude joy in their performances and one of the bands he mentioned was The Avalanches guerrilla sampling Australian Mad Hatters and that has turned me on to "Frankie Sinatra" from their album "Wildflower" , love the song , love the video , love the band.
Boops(Here To Go) - Sly and Robbie
While this does contain a lot of rhythm and melody it is a veritable soup of sound. Sly and Robbie are part of the Jamaican scene so you are expecting reggae or ska , with dub treatment for adventure. But it's not of these. Maybe it's gumbo voodoo music, which reminded me of Dr John's "Walk on Gilded Splinters" from "Gris-Gris".
"Boops (Here To Go)" was a hit.
When I first heard it I liked it , but it isn't anything you can pigeonhole. You can dance to it , it has a defined rhythm and it won't scare people away.
Sly and Robbie often did not stick to reggae styling and because of that produced some memorable songs, under their own name , despite being producers for countless others.
Sheriff Fatman - Carter USM
Carter USM were supposedly the band everybody hates to love , sort of minimalist and fast with some great one liners and not your average chart material.
Single Ladies - Beyoncé
This may seem an odd suggestion for such a big pop song by a big pop star, but this, in my opinion, is a great original construct. There is a tune and a dance drum beat and that makes it very commercial and listenable. Beyoncé's Single Ladies is absolutely monstrous in the best possible way, almost scarily so enticing with it's pop sensibilities while something threatening lurks in the background.
Then the master stroke is the orchestral drone that creeps in and underpins the record, similar to the dragging bass on Siouxsie And The Banshees Peek-A-Boo, this morphs into a grating orchestral theme worthy of any monster movie such as Godzilla or King Kong.
This song impressed me the first time I heard it nearly seven years back and it has lost none of it's potency, which is very impressive coming from someone who may be seen by some as mainstream pop.
If you haven't heard it listen to it , listen to it loud and prepare to be steamrollered.